The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS to
FIRST LIEUTENANT JOHN R. HARRIS
UNTIED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE
for service as set forth in the following
"For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight while serving with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 364, Marine Aircraft Group Sixteen, First Marine Aircraft Wing in connection with combat opera- tions against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 7 May 1969, First Lieutenant Harris launched as Copilot aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of three CH-46 transport helicopters assigned the mission of inserting a Marine reconnaissance team into an area near a suspected enemy base camp five miles southwest of An Hoa. When his aircraft encountered intense hostile ground fire during its first approach to the landing zone and was forced to abort its landing attempt, he skillfully monitored his gauges, maintained constant radio commun- ications with supporting aircraft, and provided a continuous flow of vital infor- mation which enabled his helicopter to be maneuvered to a landing in an alter- nate insertion site. While the eight-man team was disembarking, it came under an extremely heavy volume of enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire and quickly began to reboard the CH-46. Advised that all the Marines were aboard, First Lieutenant Harris was assisting his pilot to lift out of the area when he received a report that three team members were still on the ground. Undaunted by the intensity of the hostile fire directed against his helicopter, he calmly manned his equipment and instruments and aided at the controls as he boldly assisted in maneuvering his CH-46 to a landing and resolutely aided in maintaining his aircraft in its dangerously exposed position until the three men had embarked. As the CH-46 began to lift out of the dangerous area, one of the team members was struck by an enemy round and thrown from the ramp to the ground. When informed of the incident, First Lieutenant Harris ignored the heavy volume of hostile fire as he provided precise flight data which enabled his helicopter to land in the dangerous area and steadfastly remain in its precarious position for the fifteen minutes required for two Marines to locate the seriously injured and unconscious man, carry him to the helicopter, and place him aboard. He then cleared his pilot to lift out of the hazardous area and proceed to the medical facility at An Hoa. First Lieutenant Harris' courage, superior airmanship and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger were instrumental in saving the lives of several of his fellow Marines and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service."
FOR THE PRESIDENT
/s/ H. W. Buse, Jr.
H. W. BUSE, JR.
Crew of YK-15
|Maj. George W. Cox||Pilot|
|1stLt. John R. Harris||Copilot|
|Sgt. Dennis J. Peterson||Crew Chief|
|Cpl. Thomas V. Crow||Gunner|
|LCpl. Ronald J. Lamoree||Gunner|
After Action Report
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